ABC redfaced over Breheny stunt


ABC TV management remains in damage control this morning after former Institute of Public Affairs TV personality Simon Breheny appeared on its News Breakfast program disguised as another IPA tyro.

Breheny appeared on the “what the papers say” segment at 6.45am as an IPA up-and-comer with a fancy title who went by the name of Daniel Wild and co-hosts Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar appeared none the wiser despite some very early tells as to the guest commentator’s real identity.

Wilde (main picture) was supposed to be reporting on newspaper articles but quickly slipped into “I’d be disappointed if this policy ever…”, “I’m opposed to this idea…”, “I believe laws should never be retrospective” and “my own view on this is…” type comments, so characteristic of Breheny’s own style in the years he was a regular on the program.

That most of the things Wild criticised were Labor Party policies and that he also favoured News Corp mastheads to talk about surely should have been a dead giveaway, especially for the veteran presenter Rowland.

Breheny was unrepentant this morning when contacted by The Bug.

“I just missed the limelight,” he confessed. “And I still haven’t been offered a safe Liberal seat yet – if any still exist – so I really do need to regather some momentum and brand recognition,” he said.

“Georgina [Downer] already has a safe seat, albeit not for her.”

Breheny said it had not been difficult to trick the show’s hosts and producers.

“I used a whole heap of packets of unused out-of-date condoms to fashion myself a fairly light latex face mask and the name Daniel Wild comes from my childhood street and first pet names.”

An ABC producer told The Bug that while Breheny’s subterfuge had been unethical, the channel could not be blamed for accepting his offer to appear on the show when he called a few days ago.

“The ABC is always about fairness and balance so whenever Scott Burchill is on the program we then try to have four appearances from the IPA or like-minded organisations just to square things up, seeing he’s so rabidly left-wing,” the producer explained.