Mad as hell: ABC host steaming after News Corp's latte insult | The Weekly Beast

Rowland hits out at ‘shitty rag’, with support from Barrie Cassidy. Plus: the Australian finds an even more extreme columnist

The Australian does love a stoush with the ABC, but it’s not every day the target of the abuse hits back hard.

The ABC News Breakfast co-host Michael Rowland responded to a personal slur in the Oz by calling the Murdoch broadsheet a “shitty rag”.

Its former editor-in-chief and media columnist Chris Mitchell agreed furiously with the Sydney Institute director, Gerard Henderson, the Oz’s associate editor, Chris Kenny, and the Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt that “it’s not so much a lack of ethnic diversity [at the ABC] that’s the problem as a lack of political diversity”.

Mitchell ended by taking a cheap shot at Rowland, who was broadcasting from Wollongong to highlight the regions. “Yet Rowland on News Breakfast on Thursday underscored the critics’ point about its inner-city latte culture,” Mitchell said. “Telling viewers he would broadcast from Wollongong next morning he said he’d see ‘how good the coffee in Wollongong is’ on Friday at 5.45am. Man of the people.”

It's a shame Chris Mitchell didn't watch us on Friday to hear the views of the people of Wollongong, but that of course would destroy the narrative. I'm sure more people in the Gong watch and listen to the ABC than read the shitty rag he writes for. (The coffee's great, BTW)

— Michael Rowland (@mjrowland68) October 13, 2019

Former Insiders host Barrie Cassidy, emboldened by his new-found freedom, joined Rowland, calling Mitchell’s column “puerile analysis”.

@mjrowland68 That’s so typical of the puerile analysis Mitchell is known for. Criticism. You drink coffee. They don’t drink coffee at the Oz?

— Barrie Cassidy (@barriecassidy) October 13, 2019

Mitchell was so outraged at the ABC’s approach to “climate change, renewable power advocacy, opposition to coal and gas extraction, asylum-seeker advocacy and the performance of US president Donald Trump” he suggested the government order the public broadcaster to change.

“The minister for communications, Paul Fletcher, should tell the board this is what taxpayers expect,” he said, ignoring the small matter of the ABC’s independence from government, which is mandated by the ABC Act.

“If the minister provides the ABC with a statement of government policy about broadcasting, then the board will consider it but it’s not enforceable by the minister,” the ABC said.

The “shitty rag” may be a little disappointed after picking up just two Walkley nominations, an unfortunate tally for editor-in-chief Chris Dore. The Oz got one for cartoonist Jon Kudelka, who has resigned to join Schwartz Media’s Saturday Paper, and one for associate editor Cameron Stewart for a feature in the Weekend Australian Magazine, “Joe Hockey’s Game”. Senior reporter Ean Higgins was also nominated in the Walkley book award longlist for The Hunt for MH370; as was business writer Damon Kitney for his book The Price of Fortune: The untold story of being James Packer. The ABC was nominated for 16 Walkley awards, including 25 finalists and Nine Entertainment was nominated in 14 categories.

Latham losses mount

Mark Latham has settled a defamation claim by Mohamed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen, who sued the One Nation politician over two since-deleted tweets posted after the University of New South Wales PhD student was charged with a terrorism-related offence.

It’s the second defamation case involving false allegations of Islamic terrorism the former Labor leader has had to settle.

Last year he had to settle with Osman Faruqi, ABC journalist and former Greens candidate, who sued after Latham accused him of “aiding and abetting Islamic terrorism” and fostering “anti-white racism in Australia”.

This week Nizamdeen’s lawyer, Moustafa Kheir, said Latham had settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Both cases are believed to have cost Latham around $100,000.

In March 2019, we commenced defamation action on behalf of Mr. Kamer Nizamdeen against Mr Latham.

We are pleased to announce that the claim against Mr. Latham has now settled.

— Moustafa Kheir (@Mouskheir) October 16, 2019

Latham had already tweeted an apology in April that said Nizamdeen had been falsely accused and that the allegations he had believed at the time were incorrect. “I unreservedly apologise to Mr Nizamdeen and retract the allegations made about him in my tweet.”

Q&A answers one question

The pieces of the puzzle that is Q&A in 2020 are slowly coming together. An executive producer has been appointed but not a host. Tony Jones’s departure is imminent as he is moving to China, where he will pursue his love of fiction writing.

Erin Vincent, new executive producer of Q&A
Erin Vincent, the new executive producer of Q&A. Photograph: ABC

Erin Vincent, the former executive producer of Insiders and News Breakfast, has landed the Q&A gig next year, after the departure of the founding EP, Peter McEvoy, who is finishing up a long career at Aunty that started in 1980 on Triple J.

“The ABC and Australian audiences are indebted to Peter McEvoy for bringing the concept to life more than a decade ago, and I look forward to leading the talented team behind it,” Vincent said.

“The audience is the heart of this show and I can’t wait to find new ways for people to participate in the debate and engage with public figures on the social issues they care about.”

The ABC’s news director, Gaven Morris, praised Vincent for increasing the ratings on News Breakfast and signalled that Q&A would evolve.

The main difference so far is that Vincent is based in Melbourne and Q&A will be produced out of Melbourne as well as Sydney, joining News Breakfast and Insiders as Victorian productions.

Brand corporation

The “upfronts” is a term the local TV industry has adopted from the US to describe an annual showcase of programming to spruik its content for media buyers, advertisers and media. Ten unveiled the new MasterChef Australia judges at its upfronts last week, Nine held a major event and after party at Fox Studios on Wednesday, and Seven’s event – with its new CEO, James Warburton – will be held next Wednesday.

Nine in 2020 #9Upfront

— Nine Comms (@9Comms) October 16, 2019

Over the past 10 years the commercial networks have evolved their upfronts into events aimed less at media and more at advertisers, with an emphasis on ways the brands can sell ads through the platforms, and even in the shows. Think reality TV hits The Block and its extreme advertiser integration.

Nine held 1,300 advertising and media industry members captive at Fox Studios for more than two hours – with just a bag of popcorn and a can of spring water for sustenance – as it rolled out celebrity presenters, reality TV contestants, sports stars and endless charts and data to bamboozle the people with money to spend. They promised “consistency” across 52 weeks in the face of Seven’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics coverage, which the network has promised advertisers will command at least a 60% commercial share.

Chief sales officer Michael Stephenson said Nine was the “greatest marketing platform” for Australian brands since the takeover of Fairfax made it a truly cross-platform offering of TV, digital, radio and print.

“From our publishing business to the digital assets and of course 9Now, the performance of all of them has been nothing short of outstanding,” he said.

Nine uses Superbrands to Accelerate Growth in Property, Auto, Travel and Food #9Upfront

— Nine Comms (@9Comms) October 16, 2019

Under the Nine family, Domain, Drive, Good Food, Traveller, Good Weekend and Sunday Life are “super brands”, not just newspaper inserts, and are more valuable than the actual journalism of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age that underpins them.

Last month Nine launched its first cross-platform offering, Your Domain, a one-hour TV program hosted by Shelley Craft and former Your Money host Chris Kohler that extends Domain from a print and digital cash cow into a television cash cow.

Nine Entertainment has nominations in 14 categories for this year’s Walkley awards.

Turkish president and News Corp columnist Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Turkish president and News Corp columnist Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photograph: Burhan Özbilici/AP

Media freedom – for some

Some of us were surprised to see a new columnist pop up in the Australian this week. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a bylined piece, syndicated from the Wall Street Journal, headlined We pleaded for your help. Now we have to act, in which he argued that Turkey had “reached its limit” and should be given a free hand to “remove all terrorist elements in northeastern Syria”.

“My administration repeatedly warned that we would be unable to stop refugees from flooding into the West without international financial support,” he said. “Those warnings fell on deaf ears as governments, eager to avoid responsibility, portrayed as a threat what was intended as a mere statement of fact.”

We’re all for a diversity of voices, but why publish a dictator with one of the worst records on press freedom who has banned more than 124 media outlets and had 200 journalists arrested since 2016?

Oz chided on Islam

The press watchdog has slapped the Australian for a report which may have given the impression that “the religion of Islam as a whole is responsible for the Bourke Street attack”. The Oz report, on 10 November 2018, said “Violent Islam Strikes Bourke Street” on the front page and continued on page six headed “Violent Islam hits at heart of Bourke St”.

The Australian Press Council found the paper did not make it sufficiently clear that the “violent” descriptor referred to the conduct of the attacker and not Islam as a whole and breached general principle three for fairness and balance.

The paper also breached general principle six by not taking reasonable steps “to avoid contributing to substantial prejudice which was not justified by the public interest”.


Amanda Meade

The GuardianTramp

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