ABC hangs up on Monckton. ABC Local Radio presenter Adam Spencer hung up on Christopher Monckton on air this morning, earning a sharp rebuke from listeners complaining Spencer let his politics show and forcing the Sydney breakfast host to get the climate skeptic back on the line to air his controversial views. The station says there’s been a “huge reaction” in an encounter sure to inflame critics of the broadcaster.

The 6.40am interview began badly as Spencer — a mathematician who has presented a number of science programs on the ABC — questioned Monckton’s claims to lordship. “It [my passport] says I am the Right Honourable Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. So get used to it,” he snapped. And his “honourary” Nobel prize: “That’s what we on the centre-right call a joke. That’s what you and the ABC on the centre-left wouldn’t understand.”

Spencer pressed Monckton on the science but was branded “deliberately hostile” — “that’s what the ABC is infamous for in this debate” — and “childish”. “I’m actually going to try and get a word into this interview now, so you shut up and listen,” he said. Finally Monckton suggested unless he could finish an answer he would end the interview. Spencer obliged: “We will finish the interview there, it’s 10 minutes to 7 on 707, that’s not going anywhere Lord Monckton and you know exactly why that’s going nowhere. My apologies for not getting to the questions that we wished to.”

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Before 7am, after numerous calls, Spencer offered an apology of sorts: “My apologies for the method in which I terminated my interview with Lord Monckton there. It felt completely dysfunctional on both sides. In retrospect I should not have hung up on him, I should have tried to get a word in to say I was terminating the conversation as he suggested that I do.” Caller “Matt” was allowed to rebuke the host, who he said was “aggressive” and “disgraceful”.

Station manager Andy Henley told Crikey more than 60 calls were received during the program, roughly split into those who supported Spencer and those who believe he wasn’t fair. Producers chased Monckton to have him back on the program and after 7.30am Spencer said he’d “been good enough to call us back”. The second attempt was more civil, but ended with a plea from the visiting skeptic: “Please don’t conduct interviews like that again, it wasn’t very pleasant…” To which Spencer replied: “It wasn’t very pleasant for me or the listeners either, sir.”

Henley says Adam acknowledged the interview “went dysfunctional” — “there was no light being shed by anyone” — but he’s comfortable with how the former Triple J host handled the encounter. But he also knows the reaction from some sections of the media will be fierce. Stay tuned. — Jason Whittaker

Murdoch backs Brooks over phone-hacking allegations

“Rupert Murdoch has taken the highly unusual step of issuing an official public statement backing Rebekah Brooks over the phone-hacking scandal engulfing his UK newspaper business.” — The Guardian

Good day to bury bad news — terrible day to launch HuffPo UK

“Poor Arianna Huffington. When she and her advisors picked today to launch the British version of the Huffington Post they couldn’t have known it would be eclipsed by the biggest media story of the year. This would have been a good day to bury bad news, but it’s not a good day to launch HuffPost UK.” — The Telegraph

Seven, Nine will now show carbon

“Two commercial broadcasters have done an about-face on televising Julia Gillard’s carbon tax announcement on Sunday. Having declined an offer by the Prime Minster’s office to broadcast an address to the nation on Sunday evening, the Nine Network has changed its mind and plans to take the feed at about 6.30pm after its evening news bulletins.” — The Australian

Facebook, Google battle over video calling

“Why are Facebook and Google fighting to be the leader in video-calling? Site stickiness and revenue potential. First, video calling may hit the mainstream and become the reason that people choose to use one social networking site over another. In that case, it will be a feature any communications site should offer.” — Forbes

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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