Devine timing on war memorial. How very curious. The Daily Telegraph‘s Miranda Devine and The Australian‘s Nick Cater both have the same “exclusive” story today: the Australian War Memorial, led by former Coalition defence minister Brendan Nelson, has scrapped a plan to remove the words “known unto God” from the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The phrase was to have been replaced by a quote from former prime minister Paul Keating, but the Abbott government overruled the War Memorial council’s decision. Devine and Cater’s work usually appears in the op-ed section rather than the news pages, making the stories even more intriguing.

Oz lobbies for ABC review. Still on The Australian, the paper takes an almighty swing at the ABC today in its editorial. The paper blasts the ABC for recent news judgments — including Four Corners‘ dramatic live cattle episode and a lack of coverage of the Julia Gillard/AWU affair. “Perhaps the ABC doesn’t get enough practice making editorial judgments because it has such a poor record in breaking stories — save for those spoon-fed by unions or environmental and animal rights activists,” thunders the Oz. “With vast resources and annual public funding of more than $1 billion, the ABC fails to break as many significant stories in a year as this newspaper does in a week.” The paper then calls for the Abbott government to review the ABC’s “reach, role, funding and internal leadership”.

The ABC’s corporate affairs boss Michael Millett has already fired back at the Oz in a letter to the editor. It’ll surely get a run in tomorrow’s paper, but here it is in full:

The Australian‘s latest editorial on the ABC (October 29) exhorts the national broadcaster to display Australian nationalism, open-mindedness, curiosity, plurality and fair-minded debate. What the editorial doesn’t mention is that in the past week the ABC has: broadcast the lost masterpiece documentary on the Opera House, started a landmark series on Australian art with Ed Capon, educated a nation on brain nureoplasty with Todd Sampson, launched a new triple J radio service to promote Australian music and better serve audiences, broken audience records for iview through Chris Lilley, provided a forum for a debate on gender in the media at the Olle lecture, raised half a million dollars for Syria, delivered outstanding bushfire coverage for days on end and broke major stories including the shutdown of Operation Puma in Melbourne and another instance of scientific fraud, this time regarding research into heart disease.

“It also fails to mention that Federal Parliament this year unanimously voted in favour of updating the ABC Charter to recognise the importance and popularity of its on-line services. Ultimately, the audience decides if the ABC is doing its job properly, not the editorial writers at The Australian.”

Newspaper page of the day. It wasn’t on the front page, but the newspaper of New York’s counterculture, the Village Voice, has republished its 1967 review of the first album by Velvet Underground (frontman Lou Reed died this week). Even the finger-on-the-pulse Voice didn’t think the band was worth more than two paragraphs on page 19. The review begins: “The Velvet Underground is not an easy group to like …”

Village Voice

Video of the day. Sesame Street has taken on current zeitgeist show Homeland as a battle between Caaaaa-rie and wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing Baaaa-rody. For your enjoyment: Homelamb.

Get more Crikey, for less

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

Join us this week for 50% off a year of Crikey.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
50% off