Chris Mitchell to Paul Barry: I’ll nail you. On last week’s Media Watch, host Paul Barry spent some time traversing the woes of News Limited. He made special mention of The Australian, which he said, quoting “insiders”, was losing up to $50 million a year. Barry didn’t contact editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell to comment, a fact News Corp outlets have made much of in recent days.

Yesterday, Mitchell revealed (in an interview with his media editor) that he planned to lodge a complaint against Media Watch with communications industry watchdog ACMA, accusing the program of failing to follow the ABC’s own policies. On last night’s program, Barry responded. He said he’d received a legal letter from News Corp’s lawyers, and so sent Mitchell an email asking what exactly were the Oz‘s losses. Mitchell responded with:

“That is not how it works mate. Straight to ACMA I think.”

But that’s not all he said. Mitchell also told Barry that Media Watch‘s figures about the paper’s losses were all wrong, which wasn’t quoted on the program (Crikey couldn’t find it online either). Barry says he cut it out thinking that the point about the financial losses being wrong had already been made earlier in the segment. Still, Mitchell was rather displeased. He responded minutes after the program aired with the following:

“Thanks for that Paul. That edit was such just the smart arse prank I need to nail you [sic].”

Barry was rather shocked by this and sent it on to Crikey. “I’m amazed that Australia’s most experienced editor would use such language,” he said. Mitchell’s been editor-in-chief of The Oz since 2003, which does, according to Crikey’s research, make him Australia’s most experienced editor — as claimed in the Oz on Monday. — Myriam Robin

Hockey cries misquoted — you be the judge. Treasurer Joe Hockey is unhappy with the airing of 2009 claims he called the G20 a “centre-left movement”, which Crikey drew attention to yesterday: he believes the original sources for the claim — including an AAP article  — misquote him.

The issue blew up when Hockey tweeted during question time while then-treasurer Wayne Swan was discussing a recent G20 meeting: “Listening to swan on the G20 and I am wondering how many finance ministers he met are left wing.” After Labor mocked Hockey for suggesting the G20 was a left-wing conspiracy, he defended himself on Sky News. The exchange with David Speers is below. While we agree with Hockey that he doesn’t directly call the G20 a “centre-left movement”, it’s hard to tell the difference between that and what he actually says. We’ll let readers judge for themselves …

SPEERS: Just getting back to the G20, I noticed you were tweeting during Question Time. You were on Twitter today. It seemed to annoy the Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner somewhat?
HOCKEY: It’s amazing how those things get under their skin when we do it.
SPEERS: On the tweet you said, one of those that you sent you were wondering how many Finance Ministers at the G20 were left-wing. What did you mean by that?
HOCKEY: Well, how many of them come from centre-left governments? It’s a good question. It was amusing, but it’s …
SPEERS: Are you saying that there’s a political bias in the G20 towards this stimulus because they come from centre-left governments?
HOCKEY: Well here we have Kevin Rudd, and he has given a number of these ideological speeches. He has said governments should be front and centre of the new economy. Well if this is a new mantra from centre-left leaders around the world, people should debate it.
SPEERS: Is that what you think is happening?
HOCKEY: I think there is a centre-left movement across the world that is trying to run the line that governments should be the centre of everything in our lives. I’m strongly opposed to that, Liberals are strongly opposed to the government being the centre of everyone’s lives.
SPEERS: So Barack Obama, Gordon Brown shouldn’t be following the strategies they’re following?
HOCKEY: Well, Gordon Brown, I wouldn’t take any economics lesson from Gordon Brown. Just have a look at the economy that he created as Chancellor in the UK. And as for Obama, I think Americans are changing their opinion at a rapid rate of Barack Obama.

And for the sake of being comprehensive, Hockey further discussed his tweet on Insiders — you can read the transcript online. — Bernard Keane

New Zealand Herald jumps right in. Australian media outlets have, for the most part, been rather careful about how they report Charlotte Dawson’s death. While the ethics of reporting around suicide are always complex, most outlets are at least trying to report sensitively. That is, until this piece by the New Zealand Herald jumped right in. In it, Herald columnist Deborah Cone Hill muses on why Dawson killed herself:

“You always did like to be talked about. I wonder if you’d laugh at the way everyone likes you when you’re dead. You’re Princess Diana now.”

Ultimately though, Hill writes, she doesn’t think it was the media glare that killed Dawson:

“I think you were also claimed by the fear of getting old. It is hard being 47. At the crisis of middle age, losing your sexual currency, becoming invisible. Psychologist Joseph Burgo says getting older inevitably involves a kind of narcissistic injury: as our bodies age and younger people find us less physically attractive, they seem to look right through us, as if we no longer exist.”

Hill acknowledges at the start of the piece that she didn’t know Dawson. Still, she doesn’t let that stop her hypothesising on what was going through the celebrity’s head at the time. The Herald has not apologised for or removed the piece, despite a public outcry against it. — Myriam Robin

Oz exclusive watch: Pell’s promotion. We’re glad to see The Australian didn’t forget to slap a big red “exclusive” above this piece about the Archbishop of Sydney’s promotion. That said, it’s a pity they forgot the byline. For those wondering, the piece was written by Tess Livingstone, according to the online version …

Peter Fray

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