Tense time in Eden-Monaro

media dinkus

Commonsense and logical clear-thinking are crucial to good journalism so it’s sad to be exposing sloppy reporting two days in a row – by Aunty of all outlets – over the Eden-Monaro by-election.

Here’s what the ABC ran with online on Tuesday.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has announced he will not run for the federal seat of Eden-Monaro.

Mr Barilaro, the NSW Nationals leader, had said he was considering contesting the seat, which is currently held by Labor’s Mike Kelly.

Mr Kelly resigned last week due to health issues.

See the problem that pissed off The Bug?

Kelly resigned last Thursday, effective immediately, meaning that while he might be holding something right now, it’s definitely not the seat of Eden-Monaro!

All Aunty needed to do was this simple rewrite:

Mr Barilaro, the NSW Nationals leader, had said he was considering contesting the seat, vacant following the resignation of Labor’s Mike Kelly last week due to health issues.

Then on Wednesday, Aunty’s NSW state political reporter Ashleigh Raper (pictured at top) committed much the same error in her online report on the decision by Andrew Constance not to be a candidate at the by-election.

Labor’s Mike Kelly holds the seat on a 0.9 per cent margin but resigned last week for health reasons, sparking a by-election.

Held, Ashleigh. HELD! Right now, Kelly holds NOTHING, at least politically, since his resignation last Thursday, effective immediately.

One simple word change would have fixed a really silly paragraph.

Everyone here at The Bug and Ashleigh as well had about as much chance of using the members’ entrance at Parliament House as Kelly himself once his resignation hit the Speaker’s desk. Immediate resignations have that effect.

Tuesday’s report had no byline so maybe Ms Raper stuffed up both?

Raper looks great and comes across as slick, confident and assured in her to-camera pieces for ABC TV, so The Bug believes paying just a little more attention to the basics will turn her into a very fine reporter.

We’re confident Ms Raper is not one of those electronic mediocre types who believe they have nothing to learn.



A strange thing happened during the week to a “news” item written by News Corp journalist Matthew Benns who is billed as a Daily Telegraph editor-at-large.

The story which ran in several of Rupert Murdoch’s capital city and some regional turdbloids was based on a report released by political agitation group Get Up and independent think tank Per Capita which supposedly showed our national broadcaster, the ABC, had sustained budget cuts average $350 million a year since 1985.

The report also claimed that since the Coalition took office in Canberra in 2013 under then PM Tony Abbott, the national broadcaster has seen of budget cuts totalling $800 million.

This prompted some criticisms of the ABC budget cuts by some of the corporation’s on-air identities such as ABC TV’s Media Watch presenter Paul Barry, Ellen Fanning, and Adam Spencer. Former ABC journalist and staff-elected board member Quentin Dempster also weighed in.

The version of the story with a Matthew Benns byline ran in the Daily Tele in Sydney and in Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail (pictured). 1abccutscmail050520

It is difficult, nay impossible, to cast that version as a news story even though it appeared on the news pages.

Benns accused the ABC identities as “bleating” about budget cuts at a time other Australians had lost their jobs. A bit of editorialising there we think.

He included comments from some bod at the right-wing think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs to reinforce the view that the ABC types were out of line to raise concerns at a time the nation was fighting the coronavirus.

So a job well done by Matthew Benns — attacking the ABC and giving a platform to a group that would flog off the corporation if it had its right-wing way.

But curiously, a different version of the same story appeared in other News Corp papers such as the Herald Sun in Melbourne and even the Townsville Bulletin.

1abccutshnewsThose papers ran a version (pictured) that easily fits the accepted description of a news story — in other words one that didn’t flog the anti-ABC dead horse usually so prevalent in News Corp publications. It even omitted the IPA comments, as well as a byline.

It was in fact a pretty much straight news story. Perhaps Melbourne readers are known to have a greater affection for their ABC? Perhaps regional newspaper consumers in places like Townsville also have a greater appreciation of what the ABC means to their community?

Whatever the reason it was good to see the facts, not right-wing ratbaggery, make an appearance in at least some of Rupert’s rags.


The big news in AFL-mad Melbourne this week has been former North Melbourne star player Dean Laidley and the photos of him dressed as a woman that emerged courtesy of a Victorian copper who allegedly broke all the rules to snap him at a cop shop and saw the pics go viral after posting them on social media.1HERALDSUNFP

The Herald Sun ran the original yarn on its front page (pictured) complete with the purloined pics.

Those at the Herald must have been ecastatic when the Victoria Police Service moved against one of its own boys in blue who allegedly illegally took and circulated the pics.

It not only gave them the excuse to keep running the tale of the cross-dressing footy star but also to again run the pics that supposedly should never have been taken or published (pictured below).1aflmanhersun

No doubt those at the Herald will justify their actions on the grounds of public interest rather than on the more tawdry grounds of feeding circulation by offering up what interests the public.