An early morning call from New York has sent Courier-Mail editor Chris Jones packing for breaching strict News Corp journalism standards. The Bug was waiting outside the Bowen Hills headquarters of News Queensland to talk to a shattered Jones as he waited for his Uber to take him home.
The Bug: What on earth were you thinking?
Jones: Okay, okay, Don’t rub it in. It was a monster brainfade on my part. That’s all I can put it down to.
The Bug: You could have just ignored it?
Jones: Well, that’s bloody obvious now, isn’t it. It’s just that we spent good money on it and I thought a strong editorial I penned warning Queenslanders of the dangers of its findings would square things up … but obviously not, hey?
The Bug: Yes, tell us about the call from NewYork. What did Murdoch say to you?
Jones: Well, when the call came through I naturally stood up as you do and came to attention and he just said: ‘Keep standing, asshole. – he’s an American now, you know – collect your personal things and get the fuck out of ..’
The Bug: He knew you had just stood up?
Jones: That cunt doesn’t miss a thing. And, yes, between all the colourful language he made it clear how badly I had let him down.
The Bug: Let’s talk about the YouGov poll you ran with?
Jones: Do we have to?
The Bug: You have to accept that at the start of a fairly short campaign of less than four weeks and with authorities tipping that maybe up to 70 per cent of Queenslanders will vote early, a poll giving Labor a clear 52-48 two-party preferred lead plays into Premier Palaszczuk’s hands? Even Deb Frecklington has come out quickly to say how important it is to elect a single majority government charged with economic recovery after the pandem…
Jones: Boy, you pricks really know how to rub it in. Talk about kicking a guy in the ribs when he’s down.
The Bug: Well, we just have to ask…. why didn’t you just ignore the poll and make up your own, like you did after that recent Newspoll came out showing Queenslanders approved of Palaszczuk’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis?
Jones: Hindsight is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? As I said, I thought my strong editorial urging Queenslanders to ignore the poll and elect the LNP would more than balance out that bloody YouGov poll. As it turns out, my bad.
The Bug: Your bad indeed. No-one reads editorials. How are the rest of your troops feeling right now back in that building behind you?
Jones: They’re keeping up a brave face but columnists Des Houghton and Peter Gleeson are threatening to leave the state should Labor be re-elected.
The Bug: Well, that should strenghten Labor’s vote a little. So, what are your plans now?
Jones: After my time at News Corp, I would like to return to real journalism if it still exists out there somewhere.
The Bug: Lots of luck with that.