Former talkback host Mike Carlton plans to lodge a formal complaint with the ABC over last night’s Australian Story profile of 2GB star Ray Hadley.
Carlton, who was interviewed at length for the program, accuses Australian Story of misrepresenting him and presenting an unbalanced puff piece on the divisive shock jock.
“I was unethically and selectively edited in the most dodgy way and I intend to lodge a formal complaint with the ABC,” a furious Carlton told Crikey this morning. “It was chocolate-box television — all soft in the centre.”
Carlton, who worked with Hadley at Sydney station 2UE, has also described the program as a “travesty”, “disgrace” and “garbage” on Twitter.
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Carlton says his strongest and most critical points about Hadley ended up on the cutting room floor.
“I said a lot of strong things about Hadley’s behaviour on and off the air — about his treatment of junior staff and his obsessive attacks on people like [Rob] Oakeshott and [Tony] Windsor,” said Carlton, who pens a weekly left-wing column for The Sydney Morning Herald. “I described his program as a temple of hatred … By selectively and deceptively editing me, they recruited me into his fan club.”
Carlton says Australian Story should have found more critics of Hadley — such as Oakeshott, whom Hadley has attacked on air, or former staff members — to appear on the program.
“[2GB owner] John Singleton was given free rein to promote his most important commercial property,” Carlton said. “If I was a presenter on ABC 702 I would be absolutely ropeable — it was a 30-minute advertisement for a rival broadcaster.”
Carlton says the argument that Australian Story is designed to humanise its subjects and tell their stories through their own eyes doesn’t wash. “Their remit is to tell the truth and to not give only one side of the story to the ABC audience,” he said.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Australian Story told Crikey this afternoon: “We dispute Mike Carlton’s claim that he was unethically and deceptively edited and ‘recruited into his fan club’. We sought Mike Carlton out as a critic and in the program all his key criticisms of RayHadley were covered — within the bounds of normal editorial practices re accuracy, fairness, civility and balance.”
In a lengthy statement, the spokesperson said: ” Australian Story maintains that the episode on Ray Hadley fulfilled the brief of putting new material into the arena about a significant and controversial public figure. Australian Story seeks to shed light on complex individuals. The program’s style and approach has always been confessional not adversarial. Its remit has never been ‘hang em high’ journalism.”