Phew that’s better! For a nervous week there I thought someone who didn’t conceptualize, write, film or edit the infamous Chaser “Make a Realistic Wish” sketch, wasn’t going to be made a scapegoat of.
Well thankfully the ABC managing director Mark Scott has come to the party and axed their head of comedy Amanda Duthie.
The bossman said; “We have determined this was not a breakdown in our Editorial Policy processes but rather an error of judgment.”
Or in plain English — it was a mistake.
Yes, it was a stinker. But while Duthie has lost her job, have the team on big money that actually did conceptualise, write, film, edit and — when it’s all said and done — put their faces and names to the infamous “Make a Realistic Wish” sketch been made to pay for their mistake?
Of course they haven’t.
Sure, they have been taken off the air for two weeks, but as this columnist has pointed out, when Scott said after the “resting” decision was made, “It also gives The Chaser a chance to regroup and review their material,” which you could read into that, they now realize that most of the material that was shot overseas for this series isn’t up to the mark, and they desperately need to go back to their local stock-in-trade humour.
So why haven’t they been made to “pay” for their mistake like the relatively anonymous Duthie has?
If you need thinking time for that answer, click on this link to the ABC shop where you can buy Series 1 or 2 of The Chaser on DVD or the digital edition for either $18.95 for the series or $2.95 per episode, The Chaser’s War On Everything T-shirt for only $36.95, the 50 Golden Years of The Chaser book where you can “buy now” for just $28.00, The Chaser 2007 and/or 2008 Annual, (limited stock — order now @ $29.95!) the camouflage hat where “you’ll be more hidden than Osama Bin Laden” is $26.95, the four DVD boxed set discounted at only $39.95, or even the CNNN – Chaser Non-stop-news-network from 2002 for just $29.95.
You’re probably starting to figure out why The Chaser hasn’t been forced to “pay” like a behind the scenes manager has…
I mean seriously! When the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said, “These guys collectively should get up and hang their heads in shame,” do you reckon he was thinking of “a breakdown in editorial processes” or that the team that actually did conceptualize, write, film, edit and when it’s all said and done put their faces and names to the infamous unfunny shite that was the “Make a Realistic Wish” sketch, hang their heads in shame?
When managing director Mark Scott was interviewed on ABC Radio by Sydney drive host Richard Glover the day after the sketch was aired, he said “We all know that The Chaser push the edge and it’s a tightrope that we walk.”
That’s right Scott said “… that WE walk.”
He also said, “It’s an ABC decision, and finally I’m responsible for the content the ABC puts to air around the country.”
If he’s THAT responsible he can get each sketch e-mailed to him and he can review it before it gets to air, and take a punt that The New Inventors and Lateline Business aren’t pushing the boundaries of bad taste that week.
I’m not saying this is necessarily the case here, but you can take it to the bank that there is nothing more sickening to staff members of high-profile, (because they’re) high-rating media properties, who have to put up with management that are happy to bask in the victories that successful limelight can bring, but either duck for cover, shift blame or axe a patsy when it gets a bit hot in the kitchen.
After all, everyone answers to someone, and particularly in media it’s often the “hairy-chest-beaters” that are the ones you’d least like to stand next to in the trenches.
And yeah, yeah, yeah, as Media Watch pointed out early in the week, Duthie didn’t “refer upwards” as she should have under the ABC Editorial Policies, but so what?
Was her bad judgment in not getting someone else to look at it worse than that of The Chaser team who took the p-ss out of terminally ill children and the organization that seeks to make life a bit easier for them and their families?
If they are big enough and silly enough to have been very successful for most of this decade, and earn the lucrative contracts that go with that success, then they’re mature enough to take responsibility for their own actions, which to their credit they have.
I don’t know Duthie nor knew of her until this week, but if she was good enough to be in her position, she was good enough to have been given a chance to bounce back from one error of judgment.
But then the spotlight would have remained on the Managing Director.
As it should.
“Racetrack” Ralphy Horowitz is a former producer at The Footy Show, Sunday Footy Show, SEN & 3AW.