‘I hate journalists’. The ACT’s chief minister Andrew Barr has lashed out at journalists while setting out a plan to bypass them with his government’s communications. Barr took a particular swipe at the Canberra Times, which obtained a recording of last week’s comments at an event at ACT parliament: “I hate journalists. I’m over dealing with the mainstream media as a form of communication with the people of Canberra. What passes for a daily newspaper in this city is a joke and it will be only a matter of years before it closes down.”

The Crimes responded with an editorial defending the paper and criticising Barr’s disdain for the media:

There are few obvious points of similarity between Andrew Barr and Donald Trump, but a now-declared hatred of journalists and contempt for traditional media is one … What makes last week’s leaked comments extraordinary is that they reveal publicly his desire and efforts to shape government policy to his personal, long-held enmity. His hopes this newspaper will close down, and his vision of citizens hearing presumably only good news from his ever expanding communications teams, betrays a disturbing world view.

Are we done with Barnaby? Seven’s Mark Riley noted on yesterday’s Insiders that maybe interest in Barnaby Joyce, his partner Vikki Campion and their baby had waned, with paparazzi pictures offered up to news outlets going unsold. But paparazzo Jamie Fawcett wasn’t so sure that was true, telling Crikey this morning there was still a taste for “Barnababy” pictures. “It’s the gift that’s going to keep giving, and at some point somebody’s going to take a photo and it will sell,” he said. Last week, Daily Mail Australia bought and published pictures of the couple taken by a member of the public in the days before their relationship made front-page headlines.

Chris Dore, Daily Telegraph editor who published the first pap pictures of a pregnant Campion, told Crikey that the only pictures of the couple he’d been offered were those the Daily Mail published last week. “We didn’t consider them newsworthy, and we chose not to purchase them,” he said.

Doctors sue ABC journo over Scientology book. ABC Europe correspondent Steve Cannane is reportedly being sued for defamation over his book about Scientology in Australia. Buzzfeed reports that two doctors named in the book’s chapter about deep sleep therapy claim they have been defamed in Fair Game.

Church of Scientology launches TV network. And in other Scientology news, the church will debut its new 24-hour television network on DirecTV, as well as streaming platforms including Apple, Amazon Fire and Roku. The church has been spruiking the new channel with a new social media profiles, saying on Twitter, “It’s TIME for us to tell OUR story.”

Review of the day. The Observer‘s restaurant critic Jay Rayner review this weekend of a Chelsea, London restaurant was scathing — the food at Farm Girl Cafe was so bad, he said, a Yorkshire terrier looked appetising:

A woman arrives clutching her Yorkshire terrier. They are given a corner table. The dog is offered a bowl of water and a plate of food and disappears on to the floor for dinner. At least somebody gets to eat well.

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings.  Only 788,000 bothered to watch the first part of the final of I’m A Celebrity last night across the country. And while the elimination saw a nice rise to 938,000 viewers, only 874,000 watched across the entire program. For an expensive, heavily promoted program, that screams The Biggest Loser.

Married At First Sight dominated the night nationally — 1.87 million, in the metros 1.34 million and the regions, 532,000. Seven’s MKR is now just another program — 1.28 million nationally, almost 600,000 behind. And it couldn’t crack a million in the metros — the 858,000 was a new low. And that performance spells rising danger for Seven and its management. MKR was fourth nationally, third in the metros and in the regions. That is the weakest result of its entire life so far. Both Celebrity and MKR have turned very underwhelming.  

60 Minutes saw Ross Coulthart’s excellent report on the terrible abuse of children at Daruk rehab school near Sydney. The report contained the testimony by some powerfully spoken former inmates. That deserved many more viewers than the 949,000 national viewers 60 Minutes had last night. It would have been better scheduled before the lightweight nonsense of Married.

In mornings, Insiders dominated with 541,000 national viewers, while Landline, the quiet achiever, managed 430,000, and more viewers than the better resourced Weekend Sunrise and Weekend Today. Both Insiders and Landline are low budget success stories because of their credibility and simplicity — that is something lost elsewhere (say, at Sky News Australia).

In regional markets, Married had 532,000 viewers, Seven News, 467,000, MKR, 430,000, Nine/NBN News 6.30pm, 384,000 and fifth was the 7pm ABC News with 336,000. — Read the rest on the Crikey website

Peter Fray

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