Nine news’ political editor, Chris Uhlmann, is not a fan of the Victorian Labor government’s response to the pandemic, and he told Sydney Morning Herald readers all about it in a rather forthright opinion piece on Wednesday.
“The Victorian solution punishes the many for the few,” the Canberra-based journalist said. “It preferences the very old over the young, mortgaging the future of the entire school and working-age population. It is hard to imagine how you could design a policy that is more profoundly unfair or damaging to a society.”
As an employee of Nine Entertainment, Uhlmann has the additional platform of a fortnightly column in print in Nine’s metropolitan newspapers, the SMH and the Age. But on Wednesday morning Uhlmann’s criticism of the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, was not in the Melbourne paper.
Age sources say the column was rejected by editors who do not subscribe to the “Dictator Dan” view of the world embraced by its competitor, the Herald Sun, and they believed Age readers wouldn’t like it.
It was certainly the opposite line to the one taken by fellow Age columnist Jon Faine a few days earlier when he said Andrews had been bullied but “shows little sign of bowing to the media and corporate pile-on”.
But the acting editor of the Age, Michelle Griffin, told Weekly Beast: “We don’t always run columns on the same day.” On Thursday, the column was belatedly published in the Age, after some swift intervention from the executive ranks at Nine. We asked Griffin for other examples of Uhlmann’s columns running on different days across the two cities, because we couldn’t find any, but she did not reply.
For the record, the majority of the 1,400 commenters on the website aren’t huge fans of the column.
Uhlmann wasn’t the only co-ordination problem at the SMH this week. On Monday, a story was so good it printed it twice – on facing pages. A story about banking appeared on both pages 10 and 11 and is now a collector’s item.
The executive editor of news at SBS, Sally Roberts, has left the broadcaster just weeks after her colleague, executive producer of news Andrew Clark, pulled up stumps.
Clark and Roberts had been in charge of the news division and SBS World News for about six years, under the director of news and current affairs, Jim Carroll.
Clark made a name for himself in 2015 when he told SBS journalists to chase ratings by avoiding “turn-off” stories about the Middle East, refugees, Indigenous Australians and Ebola and embracing quirky yarns. “Tonight it could be Katrina Yu’s rent a partner story or Naomi’s sex blackmail yarn,” Clark said at the time.
The departure of the “quirky” duo gives incoming news director Mandi Wicks the chance to build a new team.
Wicks replaces Carroll, who announced his retirement before SBS was hit by allegations of bullying and racism in June.
In the wake of the allegations, SBS managing director James Taylor called in an independent investigator, barrister Deborah Dinnen, to talk to staff and compile a report. “SBS regularly engages external independent parties to assist with operational matters,” a spokesman for SBS told Weekly Beast earlier this month.
SBS declined to comment on the departure of Roberts on Thursday, but Carroll told staff she was “moving on from SBS” and they were yet to advertise for a replacement.
Wicks is only the second woman to lead SBS news and will be the only female news director in the country when she starts on 28 September. Her appointment followed a plea by SBS to the board to appoint someone other than a white Anglo man as news director to reflect the station’s multicultural charter.
‘Fiasco’ a fact
When political correspondent Jane Norman said the Victorian government’s handling of hotel quarantine was a “fiasco” during a live chat on the ABC’s news channel, some people thought the term was loaded.
But the ABC’s independent editorial complaints investigation unit, Audience & Consumer Affairs, rejected the complaint and cleared Norman of breaching impartiality standards.
The ABC umpire said “we are satisfied that this description is grounded in demonstrable evidence and is duly impartial”.
“Experienced reporters such as Jane are expected to be able to form evidence-based conclusions about the consequences of events and decisions made by public officials,” an ABC spokeswoman for news said.
“The conclusion that hotel quarantine in Victoria was a failure is demonstrably true.
“Whether it is described as a ‘failure’ or a ‘fiasco’ is a matter of style, not substance.”
Competition tsar Rod Sims has answered criticism from some on the left that the news media code that aims to make Google and Facebook pay for news content has been created to prop up News Corp Australia.
“But this isn’t about News Ltd,” Sims said on Thursday in response to a question at an Australia Institute online panel. “I accept they’re a big player. But, you know, Nine’s a big player, Channel Seven’s a big player, Channel Ten’s a big player, the Guardian is getting bigger in terms of clicks, as is the Daily Mail.
“This is about helping news media businesses survive and prosper. If this code was in place [last year], BuzzFeed would still have journalists in Australia.
“News Ltd, of course, has been very vocal in support. I think it’s probably fair to say the most vocal, but they’re only a little bit ahead of the Guardian. I would in fact, I’d say that’s a bit line ball. I mean, I’ve seen very strong support from the Guardian.”
Ten months after the ABC pulled an episode of Q&A from iview that featured an all-female panel and a lot of F-bombs, the program has been cleared by the media watchdog of breaching any ABC standards.
The ABC received more than 200 complaints when Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy asked at one stage, “How many rapists must we kill until men stop raping us?”
The communications minister, Paul Fletcher, said the episode “generated significant community concern” and the ABC’s managing director, David Anderson, news director Gaven Morris and chair Ita Buttrose decided to take the unusual step of yanking it off the internet and cancelling all TV repeats.
But the Australian Communications and Media Authority was sure the episode met the ABC’s editorial standards.
After investigating seven complaints – including that the program had incited violence, had a lack of diversity of perspectives, coarse language and offensive male stereotypes, Acma found not a single breach.
“The program presented a view that accepted as a basic premise the existence of a patriarchy within Australian and western societies,” Acma said. “The inclusion of this perspective was therefore consistent with the editorial association with an ideas festival that also clearly accepted the existence of a patriarchy, and whose stated purpose was to comprehensively criticise and attack it.”
An ABC spokeswoman said the episode won’t be put back on iview despite the Acma finding.
No average Joe
Columnist and TV panelist Joe Hildebrand is one of the casualties of Ten’s purge of on-air personalities that saw newsreaders and weather presenters say their goodbyes on Friday around the country.
Ten is centralising state-based news in Sydney and Melbourne to save money.
“The theory is I was forced out of Studio 10 because I was too rightwing or too leftwing or too unpredictable,” Hildebrand wrote. “The boring truth is the network just needed to cut costs and I quit rather than take on a lesser role.”
But Hildebrand, who still writes for the Daily Telegraph, wasn’t down for long, announcing this week he had a new deal with Nine Radio’s 2GB as a co-host on an evening program.
“I am absolutely wrapped [sic] to be going back to radio,” the Tele’s Sydney Confidential reported. We presume he means he is pleased.
The editors of a popular newsletter and website that goes out to the Jewish community have apologised for saying one of the “5 things that needed to happen this Jewish year” is the “Black Lives Matter movement”.
The day after the newsletter was sent to subscribers by Shalom, a Jewish cultural and educational organisation, a follow-up email offered “a clarification and an apology”.
“By referring to the Black Lives Matter movement, without differentiating between the idea and the organisation, we obscured the intention of the message we had aimed to point out, which was the need for a deep introspection of racial injustice both here in Australia and abroad,” Shalom said.
“We acknowledge that the BLM movement, as an official organisation, has a number of problematic stances – both anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, and we were not aiming to endorse or support the official organisation, rather the conversation around racial equality.”
Read the original article at The Guardian