Crikey editorial meetings are always pretty fierce. Our afternoon conference on Monday particularly so.
Our journalists — who care more about this publication, and take more responsibility for its unique position in Australian media, than you might even imagine — took turns expressing their hurt and disappointment to their colleague, a writer of rare talent, Guy Rundle. They didn’t hold back.
On Friday, in a piece on the federal election battle, he made references to Labor MP David Feeney and his wife Liberty Sanger that were tasteless, certainly offensive and did real damage to our reputation. We should never have published them.
On Monday we removed the comments. We apologised and published a bunch of letters rightly slapping us around. Yesterday we reached David and Liberty and apologised to them personally. We’ve talked a lot over the last few days about our checks and balances, why they failed on this occasion and how we can make them even tougher.
We’ve read all the feedback on every platform. I’ve responded to some of it; I have more to get through. In some of the correspondence there’s been some suggestion we didn’t go far enough. So let me be really clear today.
We screwed up. Royally. We breached our own standards and, more importantly, we breached an uncommon level of trust we’ve long enjoyed from readers. We must bear the consequences of that.
Our apology, personal and public, to those involved and to you, is unreserved.