Cracker yarn proves a fizzer….

media dinkus

Channel 9’s 6pm Sydney news continues to be a productive source for Bug material and merriment.

Earlier this week, a sombre Peter Overton began his lead-in to a story on the world famous Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve fireworks with this…. “but after a tough year for our farmers and those in our bush fire zones, there were calls to cancel the NYE fireworks displays and spend the money elsewhere…”

Peter continued: “Today, a compromise … and a sneak peek at this year’s extravaganza…”

The Bug leaned forward in its critic’s chair with eager anticipation as reporter Mike Dalton (at top) began his piece.

What would the compromise be?

The invention of “clean” crackers”, just like “clean coal”?

A cutback in the amount of fireworks used to keep the smoke down to a minimum?

The greater use of crackers that don’t explode in the first place? Environmentally friendly if not much of a visual feast for the millions watching below?

And all the subsequent savings to be donated to the Rural Fire Service?

No. Dalton and the fireworks man gushed on at the “more than eight tonnes of fireworks” that would be blown up on the night”.

Dalton told us the fireworks guys would “be assisted this year with a great light beam atop the bridge”.


The piece ended with Dalton gushing on about Mr Fireworks’ shirt and hoping the NYE crackers would prove just as colourful.

That was Mike Dalton, definitely not reporting on any compromise we at The Bug could remotely discern from his entire segment……


Perhaps the Walkleys need to have a category for best weasel-word reporting, if a piece of cream puffery from The Australian this week is any guide.

You can almost sense journos Greg Brown and Alice Workman pleading with their readers that “there’s nothing more to see here” as they reveal that Angus Taylor staffer Josh Manuatu had been involved somehow in the forged document Taylor used to try to score political points over Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

A staff member involved in it somehow! Well, as they used to say, der…..!

Read between the lines and take in the carefully chosen weasel words words and you’d be entitled to think this particular Angus Taylor scandal is dead and buried.

We read that Manuatu hasn’t even been hung out to dry by his boss over the issue. He’ll keep his job, suggesting Taylor considered no real wrongdoing on his part and logic dictates that Manuatu must not have known the material was doctored; otherwise he would surely have been punted.

The Oz yarn explains that Manuatu is the person who “obtained” the false information.

A former president of the Young Liberals, Manuatu was understood to be “involved in gathering the information” that was then handed to the Daily Torygraph.

It’s a shame Manuatu didn’t speak to the scribes although we are entitled to suspect their questioning wouldn’t have been too forensic, like “Did you forge the document yourself?” or “Whom did you obtain the false document from? or, heck, even maybe “Do you know who forged the document?”

That sort of basic probing urgently needs to be asked, seeing the minister appears totally uninterested in finding out who did.

The SMH joined in the fray this morning, also writing that Manuatu had “obtained” the fake documents used against Moore.

Deliberately altering official documents with an aim to influencing an elected council’s decisions remains a criminal offence on NSW statutes the last time The Bug looked, so nothing remotely of interest to that core issue dogging Taylor emerged with these revelations in The Australian and followed up limply by the SMH.


bill kill c-mail 041219Finally, one member of The Bug‘s media analysis team was stopped in his tracks, or more correctly in his trackie daks, when his eyes fell upon this screaming headline in The Courier-Mail on Wednesday.

At first blush he thought he had mistakenly picked up an edition from the May election campaign and that our compassionate Christian PM had stepped in to protect the life of then Labor leader Bill Shorten before the compassionate Christian campaign of character assassination against him was taken too literally.

But no, it was a yarn about the PM vowing to continue pursuing laws to jail union leaders for alleged offences several rungs below behaviour by bank bosses that usually earn them a place in the honours’ list.