Cat o’ nine tales lashing for Leigh

It must be the electronic mediocre’s equivalent of a major fuckup in the headline or the intro of a print-media yarn.

We’re talking Thursday night’s 7.30 program on Aunty and presenter Leigh Sales stuffed up with her very first sentence.

Here’s what she said. “Dedicated Afghanistan veteran Ben Roberts-Smith will begin pleading his case next week in a major defamation trial against Channel 9 newspapers”.

Roberts-Smith is taking action against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times over a series of articles in 2018 that the Victoria Cross winner claims portrayed him as a war criminal.

Not that there are any jobs out there for you anymore but did budding sub-editors among the MGH readership pick up the error?

We think it’s one that someone with at least a passing knowledge of Australian media would spot in a flash. Leigh Sales should have done so too in a read-through.

To say those newspapers are owned by Channel 9 is about as accurate as saying CocoPops is owned by Fruit Loops.

Australian media giant, Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd, is the Kellogg’s of this piece.

It owns both the Channel 9 Network and two of those former Fairfax mastheads that are being sued by Roberts-Smith. They sit in different segments of the company’s structure.

Some might think we’re being picky but facts are facts, right? What faith are we supposed to have in the next 29 minutes of the program if it begins with a sloppy error like that?

And just as an aside, really, our extensive research teams in hubs 2 and 3 on The Bug’s mezzanine level 2A worked hard to garner additional facts for this piece. Gave them all headaches but they think they’ve worked out the timeframes involved here. The offending articles were written just before those three then-Fairfax papers were merged with and became owned by Nine Entertainment Co. The national capital’s daily was sold off in 2019.
We’ll let the lawyers charge the clients in this case what we assume will be very reasonable amounts as to who owned what and when and what the level of responsibility might be owed by new owners. The meters will be buzzing away.


Channel 9 news in Sydney on Friday night led with the state state funeral for rugby league legend Bob Fulton but left the MGH amused that it couldn’t be bothered identifying all four blokes who spoke about the great man.

We assume reporter Damian Ryan knew but didn’t bother to give someone in the editing booth the names. The ex-sports subs at the MGH got one right and might have guessed two of the others but it was a bit of a stretch for Nine to think its viewers would have done better or didn’t need any help at all.

Nine might be the home of rugby league but assuming its viewers are all league tragics is still a tad unprofessional.