Can’t get enough. You know what show we don’t spend enough time talking about? Q&A. Along with the recaps of last night’s episode, the Duncan Storrar pieces are still plentiful. This morning’s The Australian has a piece by Nick Cater about how the “Left’s” turning of Storrar into an “object of compassion” shows its “moral confusion”. And in Fairfax, John Birmingham writes that knocking Storrar down means no one like him will dare question politicians like that again. These takes follow hot on the heels of last night’s Media Watch, which also covered the Storrar fallout. Storrar has been large in hiding since News Corp turned on him, but he spoke to the ABC. His full response to Media Watch is up on the website. It includes the following statement on what must be Australia’s most talked-about TV show:

Q&A is the only place where people like me can ask questions of our leaders and policy makers … and as such is the most important part of democracy I have available to me.”

— Myriam Robin

Everyone loves it until they’re on it. Speaking of Media Watch, Fairfax staff are filthy with the program this morning after it accused The Sydney Morning Herald of beating up a front-page splash on climate change.


Taking issue to its front-page characterisation (“Carbon pollution to reach ‘point of no return’ within days”), host Paul Barry pointed out that in some parts of the world it had already hit Fairfax’s 400ppm CO2 measurement, and that the 400ppm figure wasn’t particularly significant, but was a nice round number.

Both these points were also in Fairfax’s story, by environment reporter Peter Hannam, who quipped on Twitter last night and again this morning that Media Watch must not have read his story, and hadn’t contacted him (Media Watch did contact Fairfax’s PR man Brad Hatch, who got back to them saying they wouldn’t be commenting).

The reading, the story explained, was also significant because it’s the first time the reading has been reached in the southern hemisphere (at Cape Grim in Tasmania). Previous 400ppm CO2 readings have occured in the Northern Hemisphere, where readings fluctuate more than they do at Cape Grim (hence why the latest readings are unlikely to retreat).

To our reading, Media Watch‘s gripe appeared as much with the story’s treatment as its content (acknowledging all the above facts — though not telling viewers they’d been in Fairfax’s piece — Barry asked: “why beat that up to be so much more than it is?”). On Twitter, Barry responded to the torrent of criticism by saying The Age’s treatment of the story had been different … — Myriam Robin


How the piece appeared in The Age

We cut both wings: Australia Council. As we told you yesterday, Quadrant’s editor-in-chief Keith Windschuttle reckons the Australia Council cut his journal’s funding as revenge on George Brandis (who is somewhat ideologically aligned with it). Crikey asked the Australia Council if they wanted to respond, and got this:

“Four Year Funding has been assessed through a rigorous process, with arts practice panels of expert peers assessing the applications. 262 applications were received and assessed and ranked by 73 peers across nine panels. The full decision making process has been available on our website for some time …

Quadrant was not the only journal not to receive four-year funding. Meanjin, considered a left-wing journal, was also unsuccessful.”

— Myriam Robin

Print newspapers are dying, right? Well, why the interest then in the struggling Tribune Publishing Co.? America’s biggest newspaper group, Gannett Co. has raised its bid for Tribune Publishing Co. to US$15 cash a share from US$12.25 in an attempt to force the board of its target to change its mind and stop opposing the deal. But Tribune management continues to resist the offer. The higher offer lifted the total value of the new offer to US$864 million, from US$815 million, including the assumption of about US$385 million of debt, as well as other liabilities. That will be a big bite, even for Gannett, which has a market value of US$1.8 billion. The news sent shares of Tribune up 22% overnight. Tribune owns newspaper titles including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. Tribune’s second biggest shareholder, Oaktree Capital, has urged the company to accept the Gannett bid.

Meanwhile in Italy, there’s now a takeover battle for Italy’s RCS MediaGroup, owner of national newspaper of record Corriere della Sera. A group of shareholders led by private equity investor Andrea Bonomi, luxury tycoon Diego Della Valle, Pirelli, insurer UnipolSai and Milanese investment bank Mediobanca launched a counter bid on Monday offering 70 euro cents a share for the loss-making group. The new offer follows one made last month for RCS, which also owns sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, from media magnate Urbano Cairo, a former friend of Silvio Berlusconi. The takeover battle for ownership of Italy’s best-known national newspaper comes after a rival national newspaper La Republica earlier this year agreed a merger with Turin-based title La Stampa. — Glenn Dyer

Front page of the day. No smokers here! The Courier-Mail slams asylum seekers for making the healthier choice, and quotes “PNG locals” who say asylum seekers are “treated like kings”. Instead of, you know, prisoners, who are also known to use cigarettes as currency …


Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey