Sep 17, 2013

Media briefs: Baker shamed … ABC groupthink … Ten’s ratings dramas …

The Australian Press Council has taken a whack at The Age for its reporting on the AWU slush fund affair. That and other media tidbits.

AWU affair: press council slaps Age. The Australian Press Council has upheld a complaint against The Age and its editor-at-large Mark Baker over the paper’s reporting of the Australian Workers Union slush fund scandal. The press council found The Age should have sought comment from Julia Gillard’s former law firm Slater & Gordon before publishing a news report and feature article on the 17-year-old affair. In an October piece "Gillard gave support for union group's registration", Baker wrote Slater & Gordon was "being accused of resisting pressure to open its file on the incorporation of the [AWU workplace reform] association. The file is believed to contain a copy of the letter Ms Gillard sent to the Corporate Affairs Commission affirming the association would be devoted to workplace safety." Slater & Gordon argued that, had they been contacted for comment, they would have informed Baker the firm did not hold any files on the incorporation of the association. It would have been unable to release the files anyway, because self-confessed fraudster Ralph Blewitt was not Gillard’s client. The press council didn’t buy The Age's defence that it could not contact Slater & Gordon for comment because it could have led to an injunction against publishing. The press council said in its verdict:
"The Council has concluded that the publication failed to take reasonable steps to ensure fairness in the report in relation to whether the firm held a file on incorporation of the association. Even if the story is interpreted as having done no more than report allegations, rather than endorse them, their gravity was such that the firm should have been given a reasonable opportunity to respond prior to publication."
The press council also found The Age should have given Slater & Gordon the opportunity to respond to "serious and adverse" allegations in a later feature on the affair. Earlier this month the press council upheld a complaint against for implying autism was a contributing factor to a murder. It also pinged The Advertiser in Adelaide for failing to give enough prominence to a correction on an inaccurate story on welfare fraud. -- Matthew Knott The Chaser's dog's breakfast. Debate continues to rage about The Chaser's decision to lampoon ABC critic and Australian columnist Chris Kenny last week by photoshopping him to appear as if he were rooting -- there's really no other way to put it -- a dog. Andrew Bolt and The Oz are unsurprisingly outraged -- but it's not just them. Media Watch host Paul Barry slammed the Hamster Decides sketch last night, and ABC Canberra newsreader Virginia Haussegger voiced her outrage on Twitter:

The Chaser boys, though, are sticking by their joke. Here's their response to Media Watch's questions on the matter:

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3 thoughts on “Media briefs: Baker shamed … ABC groupthink … Ten’s ratings dramas …

  1. Ruprecht

    Press Council upholds a complaint, delivering a slap on the wrist in September 2013 about an article published in October 2012, reminding the publisher to allow prompt right of reply.

    Media self-regulation is a joke.

  2. CML

    Re: Groupthink at the ABC.
    If anyone can find a ‘left’ leaning journalist at the ABC, I’d like to know about it!
    The place is run by a former Liberal staffer, Mark Scott, who has quietly hired more right wing employees from all areas, than we have ever seen before.
    What do these people want? An endless stream of the bolt report (lower case on purpose!) type programs? YUK!!

  3. CML

    Sorry – should read ‘….employees in all areas’.

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