Has the ABC been hacked?

media dinkus

Who is this guy?

Does our national broadcaster realise someone has hacked the online version of its respected Media Watch program that’s been running on its mainstream TV channel for the past 30 years?

This is the only conclusion The Bug can arrive at after watching a few recent episodes of the short online Media Bites videos running on the Media Watch website.

Our team of Media Glasshouse researchers rarely miss an episode of the Monday night Media Watch program in which veteran and respected journalist and author, Paul Barry, tears apart various individuals or outlets for their mistakes, indiscretions, or lack of journalistic standards, even though that does sound an awful lot like  a contradiction in terms.

Barry is the latest in a long line of hosts, all accomplished media operators, who have hosted the Media Watch program since it first aired in May 1989. By the way, that was the year The Bug began publishing!

On Monday evening he appears on our screens and presents the program in a deliberate, authoritative, yet entertaining and credible manner (at left in main picture).

It’s been the same for previous hosts, all of whom have brought their unique style of presentation to the influential program.

paulbarrymanyYet in the short online Media Bites videos Barry, for some unfathomable reason, delivers his lines in anything but a deliberate, authoritative, and credible manner.

In fact he speaks, jumps around, and pulls unnecessary faces (pictured) as if he’s hosting an afternoon cartoon show for kids.

Is it some sort of internal ABC decree that he must perform this way? Is it just part of the dumbing down of anything and everything that appears on line?

Given our previous respect for Barry and his journalistic record of achievement, we do not like to think in those terms.

That’s why we prefer to suspect his online presence is the work of a hacker, substituting a look-alike, or using that deep-fake video technology we have all been warned about.

If that’s not the case, then we are sorry because while Media Watch continues to be credible and watchable, its Media Bites spin-off is unwatchable and just plain embarrassing.

Our latest beef with Nine News

The Bug reckons Channel 9’s 6pm Sydney news remains about the funniest thing on the box right now.

The program’s latest PYT* is a reporter named Emily Rice who told us in Friday night’s bulletin about a stray bovine that caused traffic chaos on a highway in or near Sydney that morning.

As her breathless report unfolded, the beast was a steer, was referred to as a “he” now and then but was also called a cow twice.

Maybe 9’s news producers should have sent Tiffany “At least I know my” Genders?

*Pretty Young Thing (it’s a non-sexist term)


Picture taints standards?

Media outlets have given extensive coverage to the antics of the members of Extinction Rebellion and its quest to prompt our pollies into urgent action on climate change.

The group’s members and supporters have been staging some colourful, if potentially annoying to some, street protests and stunts to draw attention to themselves and their demands.hsun protest

Many of these events including sit-downs or lie-downs in busy city intersection have been worthy of pictorial coverage and have been godsends to TV new programs that always look for colour and movement. As always, being arrested by police is a risk the protesters have been willing to take.

That is just what happened to several people at an Extinction Rebellion protest on Tuesday in the Melbourne CBD and the next day the local News Corp daily the Herald Sun ran with a couple of dramatic shots of the cop-on-climate-protester action (pictured).

But The Australian on the same day ran with just one photo (pictured below) and ran it big too.

We saw it and wondered exactly what it was about the shot that made those at The Oz choose it. What professional, pictorial, and journalistic criteria did it meet that made it a must to publish?

We are still wondering, but we think we have an inkling.

Oz climate protest 091019