Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes has defended his program after The Age’s departing weekday editor Mike van Niekerk wrote a blistering op-ed attacking its latest episode.

In the piece, headlined“Media Watch should keep to the standards it espouses”, van Niekerk lashes Holmes for not contacting him before implying he was leaving Fairfax because of declining editorial standards.

At the end of Monday night’s episode, which covered the latest redundancy rounds at Fairfax and News Limited, Holmes replayed part of a 2008 interview in which van Niekerk said he would “get out of this business” if the company cut back on quality journalism. Holmes then noted:

“That was then, and this is now. One of the senior editors to take a redundancy package from The Age last week was Mike van Niekerk.”

This, according to van Niekerk, was an inaccurate “cheap shot”. He wrote in his paper:

“My reasons are personal but, for all Media Watch knows, I could have a terminal illness or have been offered a position at the The New York Times. They didn’t ask. It’s much easier and lazier to cobble together a quote here and a quote there to suit a point you’re determined to make.”

Holmes was unrepentant this morning. “It was just a juxtaposition of what he said then and what is happening now,” he told Crikey.

“If we’d called him I’m sure he would have said he didn’t leave for those reasons.”

Last week, Holmes corrected an online piece for The Drum in which he stated Vex News had “led the charge in pursuing the Julia Gillard-Bruce Wilson affair”. The website has in fact criticised The Australian for running hard on the issue.