Mark Scott apologises to Chris Kenny. Right after former ABC chairman Maurice Newman told The Australian the ABC should apologise to conservative commentator Chris Kenny for a Chaser skit depicting him fornicating with a dog, ABC chief Mark Scott has come out and done just that. In a statement released at noon today, Scott said he wanted to wait for all relevant review processes to be completed before he apologised — he now believes “that was a mistake”. “I regret the delay in making this apology,” he said.
“At the time of broadcast, I described the skit as tasteless and undergraduate, but noted that it raised questions about the nature of satire and the boundaries of free speech afforded to satirists, comedians and cartoonists. The audience of The Chaser expect fierce, robust and irreverent satire. Final decision-making on what goes to air, however, rests with the ABC …
“Notwithstanding any ACMA finding however, I have come to the view with the Director of Television that the ABC should not have put the skit to air. Having reviewed the issue, in my opinion it falls short of the quality demanded by our audience and normally delivered by our programming. While Mr Kenny is a strong and persistent critic of the ABC, and can expect to be a subject of satire, the depiction of him was very strong in the context of the satirical point attempted.
“As a consequence, I would like to apologise to Mr Kenny for the ABC having put the skit to air, his depiction in the skit and because it was triggered by his criticism of the ABC. I am sorry for the distress this incident has caused him and his family. I have also called Mr Kenny today to convey this apology and put it in writing to him.”
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At least one member of The Chaser team, Julian Morrow, has elected to “respectfully disagree” …
Wonder what the MD thinks of that tweet? — Myriam Robin
Bob Carr: in praise of brevity. The Crikey bunker has been fighting over our review copy of Bob Carr’s Diary of a Foreign Minister and can’t help thinking he could have made our lives easier by writing … well, less. Most political biographies are tomes, but we think that given Carr’s short stint as foreign minister, he really could have been more succinct.
Carr’s book, reviewed today by Margot Saville, clocks in at 480 pages. That’s 0.88 pages per day; Carr was foreign minister for 543 days, from March 13, 2012, to September 7, 2013, when it became clear his party had lost government. John Howard’s book, Lazarus Rising, was also long — 512 pages. But given the book covered his whole career and not just his 4284 days as prime minister, we think that’s far more reasonable. The Latham Diaries, which Carr’s book appears to ape, was 429 pages long — 1.16 per day Latham was opposition leader.
Carr says American political players often publish diaries of their years in power, so it’s instructive to look to the United States. Bill Clinton, with 2922 days in power, published 0.35 pages for each of them in his 2005 autobiography, My Life (1024 pages long). Colin Powell’s book, My American Journey, is 656 pages long — 0.45 pages for every day he was US secretary of state.
Perhaps the ultimate political diarist was Winston Churchill, who once famously said history would be kind to him because he intended to write it. The Second World War, his six-part tome, is 4752 pages long. World War II, if measured from the invasion of Poland to VP day, lasted 2175 days. That is, admittedly, 2.18 pages a day — almost double what Carr allowed himself.
OK, Bob — we admit you’re not quite the most long-winded political diarist. But at least Churchill split his monstrosity into six parts. Can you do that next time? We could then easily divide it up … — Myriam Robin
Fact-checking The Australian on climate change. The UN’s climate science body, the IPCC, released its latest report on Sunday. As noted in Giles Parkinson’s story in Crikey today, The Australian led with this in its page 1 story by environment editor Graham Lloyd:
“Aggressive action to limit the increase in global mean temperature to 2C could cost more than 10 per cent of world GDP by the end of the century, according to the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
But is that what the report actually says? A quick look confirms The Australian’s lede is only half the story. The report crunched the numbers on what it would cost the world to act strongly on climate change so as to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at 450 parts per million by 2100. That would result in:
“… losses in global consumption — not including benefits of reduced climate change as well as cobenefits and adverse side‐effects of mitigation — of … 3% to 11% (median: 4.8%) in 2100 relative to consumption in baseline scenarios that grows anywhere from 300% to more than 900% over the century.”
You can see that quote and its context on page 17 of the IPCC’s summary for policymakers here. So yes, aggressive action to limit global temperatures would cut consumption by 3% to 11% in 2100, but that’s against a situation where consumption grows by 3 to 9 times what it is now. We’d all be consuming way more than we are today, even if there is “aggressive action” on climate change. Perhaps it’s best to read the report for yourself. — Cathy Alexander
Arts relaunch at Aunty. Everyone knows that the ABC is not counting on any extra funds during the life of the Abbott government. That’s why Friday’s announcement that it is establishing a “specialised arts council” and unveiling “a suite of arts programming initiatives that will reinforce the ABC’s place as home for the arts in Australia” is mostly about the redistribution of its resources and some previously commissioned programs.
The ABC has come in for some harsh criticism in recent years for its diminishing arts content as specialist programs have disappeared and arts has been swallowed into the amorphous category called “entertainment”. But ABC chief Mark Scott and board member Simon Mordant were welcoming arts company bosses, artists and arts media to Studio 22 at Aunty’s Sydney headquarters in Ultimo to let them know “the arts is absolutely part of the ABC”. That’s what ABC TV head of arts Katrina Sedgwick told Crikey‘s Daily Review ahead of the soiree, adding that tonight’s announcements were also about “recalibrating its relationships with arts companies”.
The headline announcement was about the establishment of the “arts council”. This sounds grand, but it is a monthly meeting in Sydney chaired by Sedgwick and attended by 12 council members who come from ABC departments including TV, radio, news, commercial, international, innovation, online and mobile. You’d think this might have been happening already, but Sedgwick said although arts had been “very rich” at the ABC it was “embedded” in separate departments. The council would enable senior staff to come together and consider the best ABC forums for arts stories and projects. — Raymond Gill (more at Daily Review)
Great news for the Coalition. Some relief for Tony Abbott. A Nielsen poll in today’s Age shows the Coalition’s vote on the two-party-preferred has jumped 3 points to 48%. Gee, it must have been low before …
… except it wasn’t. The Age has got the arrows the wrong way up in this graphic on page four. the Coalition’s vote has dropped three points to 48%, while Labor’s vote has risen three points to 52%. If this happened at The Australian we’d assume it was on purpose, but being Fairfax, it might just be an honest mistake. And that’s quite a mistake given a similar graphic on the front page has the arrows pointing in the correct direction. — Cathy Alexander
Journalist union buys PR Report. The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, usually referred to in these parts as the “journalists union” even though that’s far from everyone it represents, has bought Glen Frost’s PR Report, he announced today. The monthly newsletter of comings, goings and happenings in the public relations industry has been going for seven years. The MEAA’s media section already has Walkley magazine and appears to be expanding its publishing stable.
The PR Report is read by 7000 people, according to its website. MEAA federal secretary Chris Warren said taking over as publisher of the PR Report helps it improve communication with its members in the sector. “MEAA is committed to working with our members … ensuring they have the knowledge they need to do their jobs,” he told Crikey. Frost is heading into a startup called Schnews.com, which helps schools make and distribute their newsletters. — Myriam Robin
Beware of cupcake fascism. Thanks for the warning, Guardian –– noted …