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Media briefs

Oct 10, 2012

Media briefs: Slipper txt-gate ... rats in the ranks ... Big Bird and Barack ...

Why are mussels off the menu at the ABC? Newspapers have run Peter Slipper's lewd comment on female genitalia -- which cost him his job -- but the TV stations have remained prudish.


Mussels off the menu at the ABC. It was a series of vulgar text messages from Peter Slipper — including one comparing  female genitalia to shell-less mussels — that eventually forced him out of the speaker’s chair. Yet Crikey suspects many media consumers, especially those who rely on the ABC for news, would be utterly confused about exactly why the speaker has resigned. The mussels remark, first reported by The Australian Financial Review last Thursday, dominated parliament yesterday and is repeated in print today by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.

The TV networks, however, have been far less forthcoming. In Channel Nine’s lead story on the 6pm news last night, press gallery veteran Laurie Oakes said the remarks were “too disgusting for broadcast”. ABC political correspondent Mark Simkin, whose 7pm report was accompanied by a blurred graphic of a text message, also gave the remarks a wide berth.

As a rule, ABC online has referred only to Slipper’s “offensive language to describe female genitalia”. Lateline, which airs at at 10.30pm, also made no mention of the “m word” last night — even though host Emma Alberici conducted a 15-minute interview with Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek about the messages.

We’d be interested to know what Crikey readers think. Do ABC viewers have a right to know what Slipper said in his texts and why he was forced from his post? Or are the remarks simply too unpalatable to broadcast? Have you heard the remarks repeated on radio or TV? We’ll follow up the issue tomorrow. — Matthew Knott

‘Catch-up’ television takes off. Watching TV online has become mainstream, with 5.2 million Australians looking at professionally-produced video online in the last six months, according to a new report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The report, Online video content services in Australia, concludes “catch-up” TV (such as the ABC’s iView) is the dominant use of online video. Recent episodes of television shows are the most popular content.

The report also finds a high level of willingness to pay for online video. Half of those intending to access an online video service in the next six months — 2.8 million Australians — indicated they were prepared to pay for such access. — Glenn Dyer

Video of the day. Julia Gillard tells us what she really thinks about Tony Abbott’s new feminist stance, in a defiant speech that grabbed international attention.

Front page of the day. The only front page that could make the Herald Sun look restrained is its Sydney sister’s whiskers and rat tail on the turncoat ex-speaker.

Big Bird wants out of Barack’s ads

“The folks on “Sesame Street” aren’t happy with the Obama campaign. The Sesame Workshop, which runs “Sesame Street,” put out a statement on Tuesday asking the campaign to take down a cheeky ad that prominently features Big Bird.” — Huffington Post

Bloggers to be syndicated

“Citizen journalism site Blottr today announced the planned launch of a content syndication network, which will enable subscriber news outlets to access Blottr content an hour before it goes out to others.” — Journalism.co.uk

The Wall on the edge of collapse

“After months of rumours about its impending demise, The Week executives yesterday confirmed the advertising-thin Australian title was facing the axe. There’s a review taking place of The Week at the moment,” managing editor Mike Frey told The Australian.” — The Australian

Reality TV dives to new lows

Celebrity Splash — best described as ‘Diving with the Stars’ — is a new reality TV format generating heat at the international TV programming market this week in Mipcom in Cannes, France. In Australia, the Seven Network has emerged as the likely buyer of the local rights to the series.” — The Age


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