Veteran newsman Paul Barry is set to quit as anchor of the ABC’s Media Watch program, my industry insiders have assured me.
I can now confidently report that my old friend Barry will vacate the show’s desk at the end of the season and looks set to take up a major new role in the mainstream print and online media. More on that later.
I first got the feeling that a career change was on the cards for Paul after he repeatedly used the word “ScoMo” on Monday night’s show.
Well, when I say repeatedly, he did it twice but in an opening segment largely based around Prime Minister Morrison’s activities on the faux election campaign trail over the latter part of the previous week and whether he can once again win an election doing his ScoMo thing, Paul’s use of ScoMo was a telling sign that got me straight on the blower to my spies at Aunty – and beyond.
Here’s Barry’s first proactive use of the nickname ScoMo, less than two minutes into his report about how the PM was bouncing back after his OS soujourn setbacks.
“But oh what a difference a week can make. Here was ScoMo back in the lights and back in control of the agenda…”
I won’t be churlish enough to repeat what some of my spies also told me; that maybe Paul does need a rest from the job because much of the 10-minute report suggested the exact opposite of the PM being in control of the agenda.
Or as one of those spies perhaps correctly put it: “Maybe Barry didn’t read the segment before taping his to-camera pieces for it.”
And another insider: “If Paul thought that was the PM being back in control of the agenda, maybe he does need a break and a fresh start.”
For there was much mocking of the PM’s various photo-ops, much criticism of his “Can-do Capitalism; not Can’t Do Governments” slogan and his Electric Vehicles u-turn. Much of the derision came from those on the far right, led by Andrew Bolt and Peta Credlin.
And here’s Barry nine minutes in: “So the big question is can ScoMo and his image makers win again if commentators and reporters turn against him.”
“We’re making no prediction but except to say that Morrison’s cuddly footie dad won’t get such an easy run from the media this time around.”
Considering the segment had just quoted Sean Kelly that “ScoMo” was “an incredibly effective invention for a short period of time, perhaps Paul had in the back of his mind that the new Media Watch presenter won’t be letting “ScoMo” escape so easily from his lips.
Okay, enough of all that. I know you’re all dying to know what Paul’s exciting new media role is?
I’m reliably informed that early in the New Year, in the crucial lead-up months to the next federal election, Paul begins work as the cross-all-platforms headline and blockline writing subeditor for the entire NewsCorp Australia network. If and when time permits, he’ll also work “ScoMo” into all body text as well.