Digging some dirt on Murdoch

Isn’t it a truly wonderful thing that not all the world’s media is controlled by you-know-who?


Aunty, help is on the way …. hopefully

If the Albanese government follows through on its promise to restore proper funding to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, hopefully it will then have enough quality staff to help out young journos such as Emilie Gramenz.

Reporting on Friday night’s ABC 7pm news of a snap national cabinet meeting to discuss the latest COVID-19 wave, Gramenz stated the meeting came as “Anthony Albanese faces pressure for scrapping the pandemic leave payment for workers who can’t access sick leave while they are isolating…”

Albanese was scrapping nothing; he’s under a lot of pressure to override the Morrison government’s decision to end (scrap) the $750 pandemic leave disaster payment just over two weeks ago – it has cost close to $2 billion – and to extend it. Repeat: Albanese was not the original scrapper. But, yes, he was under pressure and rightly so – from health bodies, unions and the states – to be the unscrapper.

It will cost big bucks. In the election campaign, he did not promise to extend it. It was not part of Labor’s costings it took to the electorate.

To scrap or not to scrap is an important distinction in this scrap that’s blown up and hopefully down the track the Gramenzes of the ABC will have better backup with quality producers/editors in the editing booth to spot the error and get them to rerecord their assignment.

Some of you Buggers out there might think this is no biggie. And, sure, it’s not going to end or define careers. But words have meanings.

With all the accusations being thrown around about a frightened and cowed ABC drifting to the right, it’s not a good look for Emilie Gramenz to allow even half the impression she agrees with the highly political interpretations by Sussan Ley, Sarah Henderson (at bottom) and others in the Opposition and some media outlets of how these payments came and went.

The MGH wouldn’t have minded at all if Gramenz had found someone to mentioned Albanese did look a little bit of a goose when he tried to protect the government’s purse strings by arguing that those stuck at home with COVID-19 didn’t need the payment because they could work from home. Try restocking supermarket aisles from there! Or scoop out chips at Maccas, one of your part-time jobs to almost get by.

We wouldn’t have minded if Gramenz in a follow-up story after Albanese’s Saturday “backflip” had found someone to get stuck into Albanese’s lame excuse that he acted quickly to resume the payments once the health advice suggested that course of action. This new COVID wave didn’t explode overnight.

It’s the ABC’s job to hold governments to account. And its newsroom editors were right to spot some early-term stumbles by Albanese and his Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

Gramenz’s brief as a reporter – her glory days as a columnist/commentator can come later – would have been to give those willing to criticise how this story unfolded and give them a run. Give the government air space to fight back.

But the reporter – especially an ABC reporter – must remain the unbiased, professional conduit for such political to and froing. As we said, words do have meanings. They must be used properly and carefully at any stage of a journalist’s career.

Below: Fancy a former ABC journo telling a fib for cheap political gain!

PS: We should have also mentioned some uninformed Twitter chatter also contributed to the nonsense over who cut what and when….