Columnist for The Australian Chris Kenny is in line for a special one-off Walkley Award rewarding comedic writing during the 2019 election campaign.
Jess Opmax, chief judge of the panel considering works eligible for the nation’s premier journalism awards, said Chris Kenny’s column in today’s edition of the national broadsheet tabloid The Australian (pictured) was so far a clear winner.
“We are accustomed to Chris’s over-the-top comedic writing style, but his latest piece is perhaps his best work to date,” Ms Opmax said.
“In the wake of the latest egg attack on the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Chris sets out a case for higher standards of public debate.
“Of course timing is everything in comedy and Chris’s column appears on the same day other News Corp tabloids run a front-page smear job on Bill Shorten using his dead mother. Brilliant!
“It’s hilarious that he takes aim at social media and politicians themselves for lowering standards of public debate, but he never once mentions the role played by his own employer News Corp Australia and the strident attacks its newspapers and outlets like Sky News pump out every day.
“It is a truly landmark piece of ironic humour and Chris certainly deserves consideration for the new Walkley when he pens lines such as: ‘Our politics have become more polarised, abusive, and intolerant at a time when there aren’t even issues as divisive as conscription or the dismissal of a PM to blame. It reflects ugly trends in public discourse and society.’
“Then Chris goes on to pen this gem: ‘The onus is on all those vilifying rather than debating their opponents to lift the tone.’
“Chris points the finger at other outlets, including of course the ABC, for their allegedly soft treatment of previous violent protests and protesters, but still doesn’t mention the constant, ugly barrage of vitriol spewing out of News Corp entities against anyone they perceive to threaten their commercial or political interests.
“It’s just an amazingly creative piece of ironic writing and it well and truly deserves our new award, unless of course it gets nudged aside by contributions in the next week or so by Andrew Bolt, Peter Gleeson, Miranda Devine, Piers Ackerman – or any News Corp columnist for that matter,” Ms Opmax said.