The Tele on trial. The Daily Telegraph has gone all-out in the coverage today of its defamation case with actor Geoffrey Rush, which was in court yesterday in Sydney. Dedicating its front page and two pages inside, the paper has arguably dedicated more space to the court story than the original scoop got. Its front page included the tag, “THE TELE ON TRIAL”.

The Tele‘s coverage is notably more detailed than The Sydney Morning Herald‘s, which doesn’t name the alleged victim like The Tele and The Australian did, or leave her identifiable despite blurring her face, as the ABC did in its 7pm bulletin last night. The Herald placed the story on page two, with only a small inset picture of Rush’s barrister Richard McHugh SC.

Rush is suing the Tele over a front-page story it ran in December alleging indecent behaviour while performing in King Lear with the Sydney Theatre Company.

News Corp’s for you. The News Corp papers are into their second day of a unified promotional campaign run by its mastheads. Yesterday, the two-page ads featured the editors of the newspapers with letters on the second and third pages to readers, detailing some of the big stories they’ve brought. And today, on the same pages, another letter. In Sydney, The Tele has gone to sport editor-at-large Phil Rothfield, while the Herald Sun has heard from the editor Damon Johnston again on community fundraising and support from the paper. TV ads for the campaign are rolling out next week.

ABC or news.com.auThe ABC continues to reject the idea it could be dumbing down its content to compete with commercial media, but its story choice doesn’t make that easy to believe. Yesterday a nicely-illustrated piece was one of the handful of stories picked by the national broadcaster’s Facebook Messenger newsbot as a top story of the day, using advice from rich people on how to be frugal — a story that might be more at home on news.com.au. The “surprisingly frugal habits of the super rich” included Dick Smith drinking tap water “because it’s free” and Gerry Harvey flying economy. No mention of avoiding company tax by any of the interviewees.

The revolving door. One of Nine’s rising stars Charles Croucher is off to the network’s US bureau. After five years in the Canberra press gallery, Croucher tweeted this morning he was heading to LA.

Front page of the day. 

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Seven’s night, but Married At First Sight is growing and helping Nine close the gap on a weakening Winter Games. Married at 1.82 million national viewers, MKR on 1.65 million (down around 17% from a year ago). A win to Nine then. But the Winter Games coverage kicked in after MKR and with 1.10 million on Seven’s main channel from 9pm, pulled Seven into the lead. A further 296,000 watched from 5.30 to 9pm on 7mate, so the total audience for the games last night was 1.39 million, which is still solid. A Current Affair with 1.42 million nationally and 989,000 in the metros had its highest rating program of the year.

Ten’s I’m A Celebrity languished in virtual obscurity with just 767,000 national viewers. How long before former One Nation staffer David Oldfield starts being offensive to try and raise the ratings? 

The ABC finished in front of Ten overall and in the main channels as its news and current affairs line up did OK — Media Watch was sharp. Q&A a bit more interesting with its focus on the Barn-a-baby story and got 571,000 viewers. In regional markets Seven news was tops with 554,000 viewers, followed by My Kitchen Rules with 528,000, Married With Children was third with 526,000, then Seven News/Today Tonight with 480,000 and Home and Away was on 459,000 in fifth. — Read the rest on the Crikey website

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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