Sharp v Armytage. Sunrise host Samantha Armytage has hit back at a bizarre piece in today’s Daily Telegraph that linked bad ratings for her TV show Bringing Sexy Back with Armytage’s own appearance.

“Armytage herself is the living embodiment of the professional transformation required to move from the newsroom bleachers to the national on-air breakfast bench. Style doesn’t come naturally to most of us, but with the support of a team of hair and makeup professionals, stylists and wardrobe experts, Armytage is camera-ready each weekday for Sunrise,” the article states.

“Confidential today casts an eye over Armytage at her casual best running errands — an entirely different image to the one seen when the television cameras are rolling, the stylists are styling and the directors are directing.”

The article, which ran without a byline in the paper but online bears that of columnist Annette Sharp, then illustrates the point with several pictures of a frumpy-looking Armytage going about her errands.

On Sunrise this morning, Armytage hit back at the Tele over the article, which she said bore no byline. “Normally I ignore the crap that comes from this particular newspaper, but some days you have to fight for yourself,” she said. “I really don’t get what this story is. Maybe it’s to shame me for being a size 12. I understand there’s interest in my life … but this has absolutely no news value on such a big news day … It’s cowardly and mean.”

Sharp responded on Twitter by saying she’d never tried to hide the fact that she wrote the article. “Hands up if you think Sam Armytage is being a bit hysterical today,” she wrote. “The issues here are a) a dud TV show & 2) STYLE. After all, she chose the clothes. I just chose the pictures and have not called her fat despite @sunriseon7’s best attempts to suggest it.”

It’s far from the first time the Tele has had a go at Armytage for being “frumpy” while off duty — an August 18 article in the Tele began by telling readers how she “struggled to bring sexy back from Melbourne after celebrating Karl Stefanovic’s birthday on the weekend”. And Sharp is far from a fan. When the Oz called Armytage arguably the most successful woman in television, Sharp began a list of women more successful than Armytage. She’s also had a go at Armytage in the past for giggling during news broadcasts. — Myriam Robin

Betting on sponsorship. Network Ten yesterday revealed the launch of a new sports program on Thursday night called, wait for it, The Thursday Night Sport Show (or should it be the Ladbrokes Bet Often Show?). It is due to start on Thursday October 2 at 9.30pm, live on the ONE digital channel. Said the media release:

“Hosted by Ten Sport’s Mel McLaughlin with regular panellists Mark Howard and funny man Sam Mac, The Thursday Night Sport Show is your one-stop-shop for all things sport as we head in to the busiest time of the year on the local and international sporting calendars …

“Backed by, horse racing expert, media personality and sports lover Andy Maher will man the Desk providing odds for key sporting events and races throughout the show.”

Ahh, yes, the show is sponsored by Ladbrokes (which owns the old Tom Waterhouse gambling shop). So for the best part of an hour or more, viewers of this program will be bombarded by ads for wonderful gambling ideas. How desperate, but then the program is on the-revenue challenged Ten. Glenn Dyer 

Rupert’s rampant hypocrisy. The Murdoch empire, in all its facets, clearly lacks a sense of irony. Otherwise it would recognise the absurdity of the old buffer’s proclamations, his tweets (on Scottish independence, for instance) and the off the cuff statements, as well as the more formal communications from the company. Free speech is a touchstone for Murdoch and News, so long as its the freedom for News’ papers to report as they want, with self-interest undeclared. And freedom of speech at News also involves protecting its self-interest, so when others report on News, it attacks with accusations of illegality, and claims to be defending freedom of speech.

Hypocrisy is ingrained at News and rushes to the surface whenever the interests of the empire are threatened by anyone, even little old Crikey. We saw probably the best example of this overnight, after News chief executive Robert Thomson wrote to the European Commission to complain about Google. In the statement, Thomson claimed Google is “willing to exploit its dominant market position to stifle competition”. He also accused Google of piracy, saying  its “egregious aggregation” of content had a “profound social cost” to Google’s actions.

Thomson’s claim that Google had a willingness to “stifle competition” is rather arresting; he could well have been talking about the company he runs for the Murdochs. But Google’s irony detectors were on and it retaliated by mocking the Thomson attack as “Murdoch accuses Google of eating his hamster“.

Murdoch’s media rivals around the world recognise the essential hypocrisy in News’ approach to the EU for help. They’ve had to wear it for decades. Murdoch has long attacked rival publishers, using price wars, discounting of ad revenues, government lobbying and other less legal methods to try and get a leg up over the competition. He has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements in the United States coupon industry (in retailing) to settle claims from rivals (proved in one hearing) of illegal and unsavoury attempts to destroy competitors.

And if anyone from News objects to that, then what was the phone hacking and bribery at News of the World all about, and the bribery and information peddling at The Sun? Nothing but attempts to beat rival papers and their owners in terms of stealing sales, ad revenues and profits, by any means.

Everywhere around the world where News or 21st Century Fox operates, Murdoch has sought to portray himself as an outsider, the underdog. His actions belie that PR image as he sucks up and duchesses politicians from Margaret Thatcher to David Cameron, Tony Blair, Tony Abbott and others in the US and Australia. Now, in his latest attempt to protect his businesses, he sees nothing ironic in cosying up to the EU and its political establishment — after raging against it for the past 35 years — in an attempt to win a favour or two. In the Murdoch empire, the ends always justify the means, even if they include rampant hypocrisy. — Glenn Dyer

Front page of the day. We’re sure the Canberra Times wasn’t referring to the dark figures on either side of this picture …