The ABC’s finance presenter Alan Kohler has been summarily sacked after swearing on his business report segment on the national broadcaster’s 7pm news last night.
The corporation’s late 19th Century switchboard lit up like Barnaby Joyce’s face after a long lunch in the members’ bar after Kohler used the “R” word during his on-camera assessment of the release of the quarterly national accounts figures.
Although incoming chairperson Ita Buttrose is yet to take up her duties, The Bug understands she was bombarded by calls last night from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and other senior ministers after Kohler declared point-blank that Australia was in recession.
True to her pledges that she would not bow to political pressure and would work tirelessly to keep the ABC independent, Ms Buttrose reportedly rebuffed the ministers’ strident calls that Kohler had to go.
But she changed her mind when a call came through from an expert on journalistic integrity and the author of many papers on the corporation’s poor record on balance and fairness.
“Ita, mate, he’s simply got to go,” Sunday Mail columnist and Sky News show host Peter Gleeson reportedly told Buttrose late last night.
“You’ve got to take a stand and rid the corporation of all these Labor, Green and Get-Up people who have hijacked the ABC in pursuit of their far-left socialist agendas.
“Kohler didn’t even qualify his ‘R’ comment as being a technical or per capita rec… sorry, I mean ‘R’. The ABC is so left-wing at the moment it deadset makes me physically sick.
“And while you’re at it, sack the bastard who wrote the intro that lovely Juanita Phillips was forced to read out at the start of the 7pm NSW bulletin. The one that began ‘It’s the ‘R’ word governments hate to hear close to an election’.”
Gleeson reportedly told Ms Buttrose that any replacement for Kohler should be forced to watch Channel 9 Sydney’s coverage of the national accounts figures last night, where Chris Uhlmann managed to get through a lengthy segment without swearing once.
“Now, that’s fair and balanced reporting of a key, pre-election political issue,” Gleeson told her.
As soon as their call finished, a shaken Ms Buttrose apparently rang members of the board and gained their ticks of approval for Kohler’s immediate dismissal.