The media wants you to think that Scott Morrison is just a “normal bloke”, Steve Bannon invited and uninvited from the New Yorker Festival, Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar, and other media tidbits of the day.
ScoMo’s charm offensive. Scott Morrison has been doing the rounds of friendly media interviews since his ascension to the post of prime minister just over a week ago. After interviews with the Sunday News Corp metro papers’ Annika Smethurst, Morrison has given his time to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell in Melbourne, and Ian ‘Macca’ McNamara’s Australia All Over program on ABC radio.
Last night, his first “exclusive” television interview went to Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, with host Tracy Grimshaw sitting down at home with the new PM and the “charming new first lady, Jenny from the Shire”. And, as with most of the coverage so far, Morrison was painted as your everyday bloke, just paying off his mortgage and living in the suburbs.
Bannon ban. The New Yorker has uninvited Donald Trump’s former chief strategist and former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon from its annual festival following a backlash including high-profile withdrawals from the line-up. In a memo to staff, The New Yorker’s editor David Remnick explained why he engaged Bannon in the first place, and why he changed his mind:
But to interview Bannon is not to endorse him. By conducting an interview with one of Trumpism’s leading creators and organizers, we are hardly pulling him out of obscurity. Ahead of the mid-term elections and with 2020 in sight, we’d be taking the opportunity to question someone who helped assemble Trumpism … I don’t want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I’ve ignored their concerns. I’ve thought this through and talked to colleagues — and I’ve re-considered. I’ve changed my mind. There is a better way to do this. Our writers have interviewed Steve Bannon for The New Yorker before, and if the opportunity presents itself I’ll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage.
The ABC’s Four Corners has also faced some criticism online over its interview last night with Bannon. Presenter Sarah Ferguson sat down with Bannon for the interview, which ran for the full-length of the program.
Reuters journos jailed. The Myanmar government has received widespread condemnation for the jailing of two Reuters journalists who were investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment yesterday for breaching the South East Asian nation’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act. They had been in custody since December 2017, when they were first charged with possessing secret government documents.
Incoming UN Human Rights Commissioner and former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet labelled the sentences a “travesty of justice”, while senior diplomats from the US, UK and EU all expressed concerns about the ruling’s implications for freedom of expression in Myanmar.
Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, remained silent over the reporters’ sentences. In a meeting with a US diplomat earlier this year, Suu Kyi reportedly described Lone and Oo as “traitors”. — Kishor Napier-Raman
In Mark Colvin’s memory. The first recipient of the new Mark Colvin scholarship was announced last night at an event in Sydney. Alex Tighe, previously the associate editor at the troubled Neighbourhood paper, was awarded the 12-month journalism scholarship at Admiralty House by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove. Tighe will complete a cadetship at the ABC, which is also supported by Kidney Health Australia.
Colvin, the long-time host of the ABC’s PM and former foreign correspondent, died last year due to complications related to kidney disease. ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie said the scholarship was a “fitting tribute for such a giant of Australian journalism”.
The revolving door. 2DayFM host Em Rusciano has announced she’s quitting, finishing at the end of this week. She’s had a difficult year personally, but is now pregnant and won’t return to breakfast radio after her third child is born later this year. Rusciano made the announcement on-air yesterday, and said in a statement she’d decided that this year would be her last in the job when she found out she was pregnant. “I still marvel that people actively choose to let me into their lives for a small portion of their day,” she said. “That’s my favourite part of this job, and something I sometimes forget that’s even happening when I’m sitting in that small studio talking into a stick.”
Melbourne Cup confirmed for Ten. Ten has confirmed it now owns the rights to the Melbourne Cup Carnival until 2023 in a deal with the Victoria Racing Club. The deal, first reported over the weekend, is a five-year agreement from 2019. Ten previously held the rights from 1978 to 2001, when the rights went to Seven. This year’s cup carnival will be broadcast on Seven.
Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Nine’s night, as The Block (1.47 million nationally) and Doctor Doctor (1.00 million) out-rated the attempts to unseat it: Seven’s Take Me Out (895,000) and Ten’s Have You Been Paying Attention (1.05 million) and Australian Survivor (859,000). Seven points out that Take Me Out lifted the network’s audience size and share from a week ago (that’s when Dance Boss was in its death throes). But rather than call flounder, let’s wait until tomorrow and the ratings for tonight and see how many viewers return. As it was, Seven ran third last night in the key 16-39 and 18-49 demos that Take Me Out was aimed at, which is not a good sign for the future.
Four Corners featured Steve Bannon — it was a report that deserved to be aired two years ago as Donald Trump was gathering pace in the 2016 poll. As it was, the program averaged 837,000 nationally as opposed to the 1.13 million who watched the previous week’s report on the Liberal Party’s destruction of Malcolm Turnbull. Read the rest at the Crikey website.